February Writing Roundup!

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The Elephant Hotel rough draft is complete! Champagne corks popping! Fireworks exploding! Etc. Etc. Etc.

It feels so amazing to have the second manuscript finished. The only thing better would be if I had the first book in the hands of an agent, or even better yet, a publisher. So before I edit (and edit and edit) book two, I will be spending time working on my first book, The Fly Tower. I received some great comments from agents so I plan to put their suggestions to good use and then start querying again. 

No work for me tonight though. I plan to crack open a bottle of wine and celebrate.

 

January Writing Roundup!

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My life has been a whirlwind since I last took note of my writing progress. The holidays happened so I fell quite behind. Yet even in early January, I was optimistic about a rebound. It didn’t happen. The reason is a good one though. I have been promoted to the Director of Marketing at Bearport Publishing! I’m super excited AND super busy! So alas with a big sigh, I’ve only managed to write one additional chapter. I have smaller goals for the next month while I continue to transition to my new job role. Hopefully in a couple of months, I’ll be ready to return to my regular writing pace.

Goals for the next 4 weeks:

–Write one chapter a week to complete The Elephant Hotel by 2/28
–Work on a short story submission

Reading Goal Roundup and My Top Books/Series of 2014

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2014 is over, and while I didn’t succeed in reading 100 books this year, I did read twice as many as last year (65 vs 32). Also, I did read some great nonfiction as well as find some new series to obsess over.

I’ve cleaned off my digital bookshelf to make room for shiny new books. Also, in short order, I’ll be sending out a post about upcoming book releases that I’m excited to read. :)

Here’s a recap of what I read in 2014.

  • A Study in Silks (Baskerville Affair #1) by Emma Jane Holloway
  • Caliban’s War (Expanse #2) by James S. A. Corey
  • Up from the Grave (Night Huntress conclusion) by Jeaniene Frost
  • Burn (Pure #3) by Julianna Baggott
  • Abaddon’s Gate (Expanse #3) by James S.A. Corey
  • Dawn’s Early Light (A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences #3) by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris
  • Magic Breaks (Kate Daniels #7) by Ilona Andrews (plus a reread of the first 6 books)
  • Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi
  • Frog Music by Emma Donoghue
  • A Study in Darkness (Baskerville Affair #2) by Emma Jane Holloway
  • A Study in Ashes (Baskerville Affair #3) by Emma Jane Holloway
  • A Conspiracy of Alchemists (Chronicles of Light and Shadow #1) by Liesel Schwarz
  • A Clockwork Heart (Chronicles of Light and Shadow #2) by Liesel Schwarz
  • The Graveyard Game (Company #4) by Kage Baker
  • The Life of the World to Come (Company #5) by Kage Baker
  • The Sorcery Code (Sorcery Code #1) by Dima Zales and Anna Zaires
  • Talented (Talented Saga #1) by Sophie Davis
  • Skyship Academy: The Pearl Wars by Nick James
  • The Girl with the Windup Heart (The Steampunk Chronicles #4) by Kady Cross
  • The Blackhouse  by Peter May
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • Balanced on a Blade’s Edge (Dragon Blood #1) by Lindsay Buroker
  • Fortune’s Pawn (Paradox #1) by Rachel Bach
  • Honor’s Knight (Paradox #2) by Rachel Bach
  • Heaven’s Queen (Paradox #3) by Rachel Bach
  • Claimed (Flash Gold #4) Lindsay Buroker
  • A Lady of Spirit (Magnificent Devices #6) by Shelley Adina
  • Ruin and Rising (The Grisha Trilogy #3) by Leigh Bardugo
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  • The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel
  • The Race Underground: Boston, New York, and the Incredible Rivalry That Built America’s First Subway by Doug Most
  • Cibola Burn (Expanse #4) by James S.A. Corey
  • The Immortal Crown (Age of X #2) by Richelle Mead
  • Caged (Talented Saga #2) by Sophie Davis
  • The Secret Place by Tana French
  • Hunted (Talented Sage #3) by Sophie Davis
  • The Book of Life (All Souls Triology # 3) by Deborah Harkness
  • Blood Rights by Kristen Painter
  • Archetype by M.D. Waters
  • Prototype by M.D. Waters
  • Sisters’ Fate (The Cahill Witch Chronicles #3) by Jessica Spotswood
  • The Lewis Man by Peter May
  • The Infinite Sea (The Fifth Wave #2) by Rick Yancy
  • Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
  • Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy #1) by Ilona Andrews
  • The Winter Long (October Daye #8) by Seanan McGuire
  • Gossamer Wing (Steam and Seduction #1) by Delphine Dryden
  • The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
  • Disenchantment & Co. (Disenchantment & Co. #1) by Lynn Viehl
  • The Clockwork Wolf (Disenchantment & Co. #2) by Lynn Viehl
  • Annihilation (Southern Reach Trilogy #1) by Jeff VanderMeer
  • Authority (Southern Reach Trilogy #2) by Jeff VanderMeer
  • Acceptance (Southern Reach Trilogy #3) by Jeff VanderMeer
  • The Clockwork Dagger (Clockwork Dagger #1) by Beth Cato
  • Sky Pirates (Chronicles of Light and Shadow #3) by Liesel Schwarz
  • Far Orbit Anthology by World Weaver Press
  • The Atlantis Gene (The Origin Mystery #1) by A.G. Riddle
  • Waistcoats & Weaponry (Finishing School #3) by Gail Carriger

Top Books/Series:

Archetype and Prototype by M.D. Waters

Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy #1) by Ilona Andrews

The Winter Long (October Daye #8) by Seanan McGuire

Paradox series by Rachel Bach

Magic Breaks (Kate Daniels #7) by Ilona Andrews

Dawn’s Early Light (A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences #3) by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris

Best Thing I Made–Fall Edition

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I’ll be honest, I haven’t been cooking very much and when I have it hasn’t been to try new recipes. It’s a shame really and I’m endeavoring to cook or bake one new meal/dish a week now. I’d call it a New Year’s resolution but then I’d just be destined to fail. :)

So for the Fall edition, I’m posting a modified recipe of beef stew I’ve made many times.

Hearty Beef Stew (adapted from Slow Cooker Beef Stew I on allrecipes.com)

Ingredients:

–3 lbs beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes

1/4 c. all-purpose flour

–1 t. celery salt

–1/2 t. black pepper

–1 packet of beef stew seasoning

–3 cloves of garlic, minced

–1 bay leaf

–1 T. paprika

–1 t. Worcestershire sauce

–1 t. liquid smoke

–1 yellow onion, chopped

–1 c. baby carrots

–4 Yukon gold potatoes, cubed

–2 c. beef stock

Directions:

In a bowl (or a ziplock bag), add the flour, celery salt, pepper, paprika, stew seasoning packet. Stir (or shake if using a sealed ziplock bag) to combine. Add meat and coat with the flour mixture until each piece is coated.

Beef coated

Place meat and any loose flour mixture in slow cooker. Add potatoes, onions, and carrots. Stir to combine.

mixed up

Add remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours (or High for 4-6 hours which is what I did).

I took some prep photos but forgot to take a photo of the finished dish! :(

December Writing Roundup!

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I made my writing goal. Yay! The last few chapters are really coming along nicely and I’m so happy with the story’s progression. Finishing the entire first draft by Christmas is now looking unlikely but I only have 5 more chapters to write so perhaps?…fingers crossed, I still will. If not, it will be done in early January.

What I’ve accomplished since November:

–Finished chapter 12

Added to my character and story bible so I can keep all the new developments firmly in hand.

–Drafted The Elephant Hotel chapters 13-20

Goals for the next 4 weeks:

–Finish this second book…then I’ll start revising the first again based on some comments made by agents. As well as work on a short story submission.

Happy Holidays! :)

The November Want List

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With the holidays approaching, this edition of the want list is all about the desire for party attire. A girl needs to show off her best self while sipping hot buttered rum, whiskey-spiked apple cider or old school mulled wine…whether at a friend’s party, a work happy hour, or merely a romantic kiss under the mistletoe with her beau. Get ready for the rash of holiday festivities with these wants!

Sequins!

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 Feathers!

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And last but certainly not least–sparkle!

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Photo Credits (top to bottom): lolobu.com; superficialgirls.com; wheretoget.it; thevaultfiles.com; ivorybirdworld.tumblr.com; nordstrom.com; pinterest.com; blog.anthropologie.com

November Writing Roundup!

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Made a decent amount of progress this month and surpassed my goal. Although I had hoped to exceed by at least another chapter or two. Some chapters were smoother to write than others but all in all, a strong effort this month. As long as I stay disciplined, The Elephant Hotel rough draft will be finished by the Christmas holidays.

What I’ve accomplished since October:

 –Wrote The Elephant Hotel chapters 6-11 plus half of chapter 12 (1.5 chapters ahead of my goal)…as well as did some necessary research

–Started outlining a short story submission. Right now I’m simply brainstorming because I want to finish The Elephant Hotel by the end of the year.

Goals for the next 4 weeks:

Write, write, write! :)

–Finish chapter 12

Add to my character and story bible so I can keep all the new developments firmly in hand.

–Draft The Elephant Hotel chapters 13-20 (more if I have time)